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Why financial startups are choosing human first names

Andie Corban and Kimberly Adams Nov 13, 2019
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After living through the 2008 financial crisis, many millennials and the generation below them don’t particularly trust big banks. New banking apps and startups have what they might think is a solution to that, however. Human first names.

Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Meredith Haggerty, deputy editor at The Goods by Vox, who wrote about why new financial products have names like Marcus, Frank, and Dave.

“The primary thing is that these companies want to sound friendly and human,” Haggerty said. “The shortest, simplest way to do that is with a human name.”

Dave, for example, is a startup that helps users avoid overdraft fees and describes its work as “the finance version of David vs. Goliath.” Haggerty spoke to the CEO of Dave, who said he sees Dave as the little guy to big banks.

“But they’re casual, so they’re Dave,” she said.